Ontario Cottage Country
The ice is out, the black flies and mosquitoes are swarming, and so we know summer is near. Folks here in Toronto and Ontario are starting to flock to their favorite lakes and cottages. With the caveat that everyone thinks their own lake is the best, Cathy and I really like the French River for canoe tripping and cottaging.
Cottaging on the French River
Long time Florida friends from university have an island cottage on the upper end of the French River. It’s a beautiful area of wide calm waters and many islands. It’s quite remote – a half hour in our friends’ speed boat across Lake Nipissing starting from Sturgeon Falls. Last summer we spent a few days with them at the end of our Arctic Road Trip .
Trescher Island (formerly Cameron Island) was originally purchased around 1900 for less than $100, and subsequently was acquired by our friends’ family in the 40’s. The original cabin was floated over from a neighboring island pulled by a small boat with a 5 horsepower motor. The cabin is infamous for having the first flush toilet on the river. For our visit, we enjoyed a lot more creature comforts in the 2nd, more modern cottage.
A short note about canoe-tripping on the French River
The French River is a great destination for camping and canoe-tripping. The lower river splits into several channels where it dumps into Georgian Bay . The French River Provincial Park encompasses this delta area. We have done two 3 day – 2 night canoe trips in this park . The launch point is at Hartley Bay Marina.
On Day One we paddled into the park and set up camp for the next two nights. For Day Two, we packed lunch, and went down one of the channels to Georgian Bay, paddled along the shore of the Bay, and then up another channel back to our camp. It’s a full day of paddling, and you definitely live the paddler’s wish ‘may the wind be at your back’.
Both times for us the Bay was calm and so we got to enjoy this out-of-world landscape of wind-swept granite rock. A big memory for us is paddling alongside a bear that was part way through a mile long swim across the channel. The bear did not like the canoes and upon reaching the shore, it sprinted at least a quarter mile before looking back at us.